Buying Goods Produced By Off Shore Sweatshops Economics Essay

There is intense argument on whether it is ethical to buy goods produced in sweatshops. This is fueled by the increased media spotlight on the unfavourable working conditions which are present in sweatshops. This paper analyzes this issue loosely through discoursing different facets which are related to sweatshops. The assorted statements which are for and against sweatshops are besides discussed. Factors which encourage the development of sweatshops such as competition, addition in outsourcing and development of resources will besides be discussed. The research uses archival research method which relies on secondary informations, and its failings and strengths are explained in the paper. These enable users of this research paper to do an informed determination when trusting on research findings.

The existent land research surveies assorted states which have sweatshops. Their economic impact to employees is studied in item and factors such as criterions of life and national norm pay are compared to net incomes from sweatshops in single states. The research findings reveal that in most states, net incomes from sweatshops are above the standard $ 1 per twenty-four hours rate used by the UN to mensurate the poorness line. In add-on, some sweatshop employees earn more than the national norm pay. These findings enable us to do the decision that it is ethical to purchase goods produced by off-shore sweatshops since the benefit of buying goods produced in sweatshops is higher than the benefits achieved by boycotting merchandises developed in sweatshops, to employees. Employees who receive income through sweatshops would be unemployed if their merchandises are boycotted. A recommendation is made to better the on the job conditions in sweatshops.


There has been an ethical argument about the purchase of merchandises from off-shore sweatshops by Americans or American houses. Many societies look down upon sweatshops since they view them as oppressive to people who work in them. Sweatshops are working environments which are unhealthy and exploitatory to workers. They are normally present in Asiatic, European, the US and some emerging markets every bit good as developing states. In sweatshops, employees wok in unsafe and hard conditions and they are unable to alter such state of affairss. They besides normally work for longer hours and are paid either the lower limit pay or lesser wage irrespective of whether they work for overtime or non. Some sweatshops have besides been known to go against labour Torahs by engaging bush leagues to work in these environments.

Many anteroom groups have campaigned against this tendency, yet there are others which see nil incorrect with purchase of merchandises from sweatshops ( Powell & A ; Skarbek, 2004 ) . It is of import to understand that sweatshops are illegal in the US, hence argument does non focus on about the legality of the sweatshops, but instead the purchase of merchandises produced by them. The argument on whether merchandises from sweatshops should be purchased by consumers is of import due to its involvement from the populace and anteroom groups. This paper will analyze whether US companies should be allowed to buy merchandises created in sweatshops. The paper will to a great extent trust on secondary informations beginnings utilizing archival research method. The research methodological analysis will be discussed and findings explained in detain in order to happen out whether most people support or reject the research subject. Assorted sentiments and theories will be discussed in the literature reappraisal to understand the topic in a broader position. The discussed issues will be summarized at the terminal of the paper.

Research inquiry and hypothesis

The research inquiry is ; Is it ethical for a US company to purchase goods produced by off-shore ‘sweatshops ‘ ? The hypothesis derived from the research inquiry will be “ It is ethical for a US company to purchase goods produced by off-shore ‘sweatshops ‘ ” and “ It is non ethical for a US company to purchase goods produced by off-shore ‘sweatshops ‘ ” . The research findings will take to the decision of which research hypothesis to back up.



Sweatshops have been discussed in the debut portion of the paper as working conditions where workers are exploited and non protected from harmful stuffs and environments where they work in. Most of these sweatshops pay employees really low rewards while others hire bush leagues to work in them. Sweatshops are unsafe environments which normally expose workers to risky state of affairss, harmful stuffs, maltreatment from employers or utmost temperatures. This normally consequences in inauspicious wellness effects or human deaths as a consequence of this exposure. When this happens, the direction in sweatshops normally does small to assist households affected. Some states have succeeded in detering sweatshops from runing through doing them illegal under jurisprudence. However, implementing this is normally hard since in developed states, most of the people who work in sweatshops are illegal immigrants who can non describe these patterns to jurisprudence hatchet mans. The sweatshops in Asia described below will give an illustration of the existent working environment in a sweatshop.

Asiatic Sweatshops

Some of the most celebrated sweatshops are the Asian mills which produce Nike merchandises, and specifically the sweatshops in Vietnam. There has been a immense media involvement in these sweatshops due to a negative promotion faced over the old ages as a consequence of working employees. In 2001 there was a immense call by American consumers after probes by the media revealed that workers in the Vietnamese mill were physically and sexually exploited by supervisors and that they received rewards lower than the recommended minimal pay ( Norberg, 2001 ) . The on the job conditions were so hapless that some employees normally collapsed while working while others developed serious diseases due to exposure to harmful chemicals, every bit good as weariness caused by deficiency of remainder. In add-on to this, some sweatshops employed bush leagues, which was illegal harmonizing to the jurisprudence. Many anteroom groups called upon Americans non to buy Nike ‘s merchandises. Although the Nike direction tried to do alterations to these sweatshops and better the on the job conditions, these environments are still considered insecure by most lobbyists.

Factors which encourage spread of sweatshops

There are assorted factors which have contributed to the addition in sweatshops and some of them will be discussed below ;

Addition in outsourcing

There has been a tendency where many houses outsource their non-core activities to foreign houses. This has been due to the addition in cognition of advantages of outsourcing. Outsourcing enables house to concentrate on their nucleus activities while their non-core activities are performed by experts in these Fieldss. This increases efficiency since outsourcing companies are experts at procedures they perform. Firms can besides increase productiveness through concentrating on their nucleus activities. The addition in outsourcing has led to the development of sweatshops where workers work on outsourced services by houses.

Exploiting resources

Many houses which aim at take downing costs take their production workss to countries where they are able to work local resources. Since labour is by and large inexpensive in sweatshops, many houses subcontract their labour-intensive activities to contractors who have entree to cheap labour. Labor is by and large cheaper in Asia, and many foreign houses either set up their production in these parts or they sub-contract labour intensive procedures. This fuels the development of sweatshops where employees are exploited.

Increase in competition

The spread of technological promotion and globalisation has led to increase in competition. In order for modern concerns to last competition they have been forced to increase efficiency and cut down costs in order to increase the net income borders. Sweatshops are hence seen by different house as a agency of accomplishing this nonsubjective since labour is inexpensive in sweatshops. Many houses therefore opt to utilize sweatshops when fabricating labour-intensive merchandises.

Arguments for sweatshops

The major statement in support of sweatshops is that it enables people who would otherwise be unemployed to derive some income and back up their households. Advocates of this statement argue that although people who work in sweatshops earn small from them, it is more favourable for them to gain low rewards than earn nil at all. They argue that if sweatshops are closed, people would be idle and would hold no agencies of back uping their households and this would drive them to offense. In add-on, they explain that consumers of goods produced in sweatshops still buy these merchandises, and it is hence non justifiable to do sweatshops illegal. This statement is really relevant to this research paper which assesses whether it is ethical to buy merchandises made in sweatshops.

Arguments against sweatshops

One of the major statements against sweatshops is that they exploit workers and pay them really low rewards. Sweatshops have been known non to pay workers who work in overtime, and those which do, pay them lower rewards than the minimal pay set by the authorities. In add-on, it has been discussed that employees who work in sweatshops work under unsafe conditions which may expose them to injury or even decease. This pattern of working employees is perceived to be unethical and this is why advocates of this statement are against the being of sweatshops.

The 2nd statement against sweatshops is that they are illegal since they commit many Acts of the Apostless which are against the jurisprudence. Many sweatshops hire bush leagues to work in mills and this is an illegal pattern in many states. Others expose workers to unsafe environments, and this is besides illegal in some states. As a consequence, it is seen that sweatshops should be banned wholly, as it is in the United States.


This research paper will utilize archival method of research. This is a research method which relies on secondary informations instead than primary research. Harmonizing to Babbie ( 2002 ) , secondary information is informations gathered from secondary beginnings such as diaries, books, magazines and others. However, for intents of the paper, merely informations gathered from diaries, books and other recognized beginnings will be used. This will guarantee that research findings are accurate since these beginnings are valid. It is of import to foreground the failings and strengths of these beginnings in order for readers to do informed picks when trusting on the research findings. Secondary beginnings have an advantage of being easy accessible since they are readily accessed over the Internet ( Park, 2001 ) . These beginnings are besides accessed stingily compared to informations beginnings from primary research such as usage of interviews. In add-on, there are legion positions about subjects to be researched from different writers. This allows for comparing and increases research truth.

Failings include the fact that documentation is hard as the writers of different subjects are hard to entree. Another failing is that there is a batch of out-of-date stuff on the Internet and if one is non careful, she or he may utilize out-of-date stuff. Finally, the research findings arte likely to be erroneous if material relied on for research has mistakes or is inaccurate. However, as antecedently mentioned, this paper will utilize merely valid beginnings, so these failings are expected to be minimum.

Actual research and findings

A research carried out by Powell and Skarbek ( 2004 ) aimed at understanding whether working in sweatshops is worthy of the attempt and clip spent. This research is of import since it will enable us to do a determination on whether it is ethical to buy goods made in sweatshops. The research compared rewards earned by workers in sweatshops to the criterions of life in these states. The research findings revealed that workers in sweatshops earned more than the $ 1 set by the World Bank as one of the measurings of poorness rates. Most sweatshops besides paid employees rewards higher than the criterion of life, provided the employee supported no household. In two states, rewards earned from sweatshops was greater than the mean national income ( Brown et. al. , 2003 ) . These findings reveal that every bit much as sweatshops wage workers low rewards, this pay is important since it is higher than the standard poorness rate of $ 1, and sometimes higher than the national norm. Using this research, it is clear that it is ethical for US companies to buy goods made in sweatshops, since it is good to employees who work in these sweatshops.

Ethical position of buying goods produced by sweatshops

When doing any ethical determinations, all factors which affect the determination doing procedure should be assessed in item. Ethical motives is a dynamic quality which varies across society and it relates to definitions of immorality and good. When doing a determination on whether purchase of goods from sweatshops by US companies is ethical, assorted factors will be assessed. These include the value that sweatshops have on employees, the injury or enduring which employees in sweatshops undergo and the alternate options or solutions which are present to rectify the state of affairs. The injury that sweatshops have on employees has been discussed as development and working in unsafe working environments. The positive part of sweatshops is offering them employment chances.

After measuring both benefits, it is clear that sweatshops add a important value on the economic position of employees. Sweatshops enable employees to gain income higher than the poorness rate, and sometimes higher than the national norm. In visible radiation of this, alternatively of trashing sweatshops or boycotting merchandises made by them, measures to better working conditions in them should be taken. Governments should step in and coerce employers to better the working environments and guarantee that they earn above the minimal pay. In add-on, authoritiess should collar any employers who employ bush leagues. This will guarantee that both employees and employers benefit from sweatshops. Boycotting of merchandises made by sweatshops will merely decline the life conditions of employees who work in them, and some may fall back to offense to run into their basic demands.

Summary and decision

The research paper has discussed ethical position of purchase of goods made in sweatshops by American companies. Sweatshops have been seen to adversely affect workers since they non merely work them, but they besides expose them to unsafe environments. Supporters of sweatshops argue that they provide employees with beginning of money, which is better than non holding any at all. Those opposed to sweatshops argue that they non merely exploit workers and harm their wellness, but they are besides illegal since they carry out illegal patterns. However, the research carried out reveals that although sweatshops exploit workers, they benefit them financially.

Harmonizing to research, most workers who work in sweatshops earn more than the $ 1 per twenty-four hours rate used by the UN to specify poorness. In some states, workers who work in sweatshops earn more than the national norm. This proves that although workers are exploited in sweatshops, they should non be banned since they add fiscal value to their lives. The reply to the research inquiry is therefore “ It is ethical for US companies to purchase goods produced by sweatshops ” . This is because purchase of these goods, helps many households across the universe, which depend on income earned from sweatshops. Alternatively of boycotting these merchandises, anteroom groups should recommend for better conditions in sweatshops. This will enable households and people who rely on income from sweatshops to gain a nice life. Boycotting merchandises made in sweatshops will hold much worse reverberations on employees who work in them than simply bettering the life criterions.

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